Interview of the Week: Jill Tiefenthaler, CEO National Geographic Society

This past January, Jill Tiefenthaler was named the first female chief executive officer of National Geographic Society after having served as the president of Colorado College since 2011. At NGS Jill will now oversee the development and implementation of the Society’s mission-driven work and programmatic agenda as well as lead the Society’s global community of Explorers: scientists, innovators, educators, and storytellers.

We had a chance to sit down with her to ask about the direction she hopes to take the Society in the time of the BLM movement as well as her approach to advancing the mission of protecting 30% of nature by 2030 (30 by 30). Here are a few excerpts from the interview:

National Geographic is committed to facing and learning from our past. In the past, we have to recognize that the Society has not valued everyone’s stories equally, and our grant work hasnot always reflected the world in which we live. We’ve made great progress, as of last year 62% of our grants were awarded to citizens of countries other than the U.S. and more than 50% of our grants were awarded to women. But we have much more to do and we have several new programs that are building on this success.”

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Science makes it clear that [the 30 by 30] milestone is needed if we’re to meet the UN Sustainable Development Goals, mitigate the effects of climate change, and avoid an extinction crisis. And that’s why the Wyss Campaign for Nature is calling on world leaders to take transformative action to commit to a global deal for nature at next year’s Convention on Biological Diversity in China.”

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“I see my role at the Society as being a catalyst to help the organization protect endangered species, increase our understanding of human history and culture, and conserve the planet’s most iconic places. The Soceity’s programmatic work has never been more important, and National Geographic’s platform has never been stronger.”

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